Airport security gardens? Bomb-sniffing tulips in Central Park? Kirk Johnson of the New York Times reports on promising new research that will add yet one more role to the life-sustaining work of plants: keeping people safe from terrorists and madmen.
Researchers at Colorado State University have developed plants that will change from green to white when TNT and other explosives are detected. The plants under development “reacted to levels one one-hundredth of anything a bomb-sniffing dog could muster,” Johnson reported in his piece.
The researchers are working on improving the response time in the plants, which now take hours to turn to the tell-tale white. For use as a security tool, the plants will need to signal within minutes and more clearly, goals that might be attainable within as early as three years. Five to seven years is more likely.